Well, that was a surprise. We actually shut down the university for a day.
It was an undeniable success. Between 300 and 400 people manned the pickets, and we turned away thousands of students and staff from entering the campus. We had an energetic rally of all the pickets at 12 (with 400 people meeting at City Rd footbridge), and then had a spontaneous student march on the Quad.
There was some debate throughout the day about the intensity of the picket lines. Some folks thought they should be symbolic, focused on persuading people to turn around, others thought they should be physical – focused on non violently physically blockading people, as well as talking to them. At various points people tried to pull me into that debate, I avoided being drawn in as best I could, and focused on providing support to the pickets rather than trying to tell them what to do, which wouldn’t have worked and would have only alienated people.
Perhaps the best bit was that after a certain time very early in the morning, not one person was able to get a car into the law car park. After traffic started banking up and affecting city road, the police had no choice but to close the entrance off. This was due to the action of a small picket outside the law school.
I’d like to make something very clear: the point of industrial action isn’t to try and gain support for the union’s cause. This is the fallacy of awareness campaigns. It’s not about convincing an apathetic student mass to view the EBA slightly more positively. That doesn’t make a difference.
The entire purpose of the strike was to shut down the university as a functioning enterprise for the day. We succeeded. I don’t apologise for making students and scabs feel uncomfortable if they decided to cross the picket line
This is the tactic via which workers have won every victory in pay, rights and conditions ever.